YOU Magazine - October 2016 - Decisions, Decisions
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Roy Sperr Jason Walters and Shawn Hunter     Roy Sperr Jason Walters and Shawn Hunter
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Equity Source Mortgage, Inc.
Phone: Roy (763) 657-2012
Phone: Shawn (763) 657-2017
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Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

Decision-making is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal for driving action and getting things done. One of the best-known processes for decision-making is Ben Franklin's "Pros and Cons List." In the nearly 250 years since, studies have shown mixed results on whether or not conscious deliberation or sleeping on a decision is most effective.

Some reports have found snap judgments work better for solving major life decisions. And books like Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" make a well-researched case.

As with other day-to-day processes, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for every person's decision-making process. Here are some options to ponder.

For quicker decisions...
If you consider yourself an over-thinker, procrastinator, perfectionist or someone who gets stuck in analysis paralysis, one of these tips may help speed up your decision-making abilities:

Set a timer for two to five minutes and force yourself to work through each item on your pros and cons list before the alarm goes off.

Simplify your choices with terms like "good" and "bad." Sometimes there are too many variables with pros and cons, which can be overwhelming. Simpler terms make less optimal decisions more obvious.

For more complex decisions...
The following modified checklist was introduced by decision management company Cloverpop, based on hundreds of experiments with tens of thousands of decision-makers. The researchers insist the checklist must be used to be effective. While this may seem to take a lot of time, they found managers who regularly follow this process saved an average of 10 hours of discussion, made decisions 10 days faster, and improved their outcomes by 20 percent. Here's what to do:

Pre-existing goals: Write down five pre-existing goals or priorities that your decision will impact.

Realistic alternatives: Jot down three to five possible alternatives to your decision options. Expanding your choices often improves decisions by providing contrast.

Missing information: Record any information you don't have. Do not ignore data or information through lack of knowledge. Consider how you're being distracted by what you already know.

Story time: Write a story about the impact your decision will have in one year. Analyzing your expected outcome can provide useful perspective.

Group discussion: Have a meeting with two to six others with a stake in the outcome. More perspectives can help reduce bias and increase buy-in, if needed.

Final decision: Write down your ultimate decision along with reasons why it was chosen. This will increase commitment and help you measure results as you follow up over time.

Follow up: In one to two months, follow up on the outcome of your decision. If things aren't going well, consider how you can make adjustments and learn from your choices.

The next time you need to make a decision, whether simple or more complex, these tips can help!

Sources: WebMD, Harvard Business Review, Cloverpop

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